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tv   [untitled]    July 6, 2013 3:30am-4:01am PDT

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up this fall and november 2013 could save the city up to this amount and we had a debate about the washington lukts luxury condominium project and increase the height on the waterfront. the ordinance was five pages but included 500 pages of technical and environmental reviews. since we knew a ballot that big was possible i tried to amend the legislation to reduce the number of pages as part of the handbook to avoid the possiblivity phone book size pamphlet printed at taxpayer expense and have grafs and analysis and redundant memorandum that wouldn't inform anybody but unfortunately at the time the developer wanted the full text included to make it
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harder to gather signatures. i think you know colleagues what happened there were very heavy books that were circulated to collect 31,000 signatures to qualify to place the measure on the ballot to reverse our decision last year, the first referendum on a board ordinance to qualify in more than 20 years. now given this measure has qualified i think the city will incur massive cost for these handbooks and supervisor wiener and i introduced legislation to reduce the material required to be in the ballot handbook. my legislation would allow the department of elections not to include the full text of the limits and supervisor wiener had the other motion. i have merged the gaps and let me describe what
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the amendments would. do first it state that's new rule that we're talking about would not apply to charter amendments. the idea is if we have charter amendments we should include the entire legal text regardless of size in the voter information pamphlet but these would apply to ordinances and declarations of policy and then the amendments that i have introduced state that for measures with legal text over 100 pages the voter information pamphlet, the ballot book would include the first 100 pages and exclude the remainder and for over 100 pages the board could adopt a resolution to include the full text and the resolution would be need to be effective, ie signed by the mayor by the last day and if there are certain measures that we want voters to see everything we could pass a resolution to do
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that otherwise excerpt the first 100 pages and the rest excluded and then the full text must be available on the department website and at the library and on request and i want to thank supervisor wiener for language that included that and the director of elections has no discretion to add more or less text. that's the gist of the amendments and i know supervisor wiener's aids is here and we haven't talked. >> >> about it and i think it's appropriate to hear from supervisor wiener's aid and i want to thank the department of elections that flag thursday issue for both of us and committed to what we need to do. >> >> as you know we are going through the throws of season of the budget and no offense to
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mr. ernst. i don't think he wants us to give him an additional 1.7 million dollars to deal with the graphs and the technical memorandum we're talking about here. from my perspective i think this is a once in a generation problem. we have a situation with a ballot measure that is larger than anything we have seen in years and part of what i am trying to do is address the problem in front of us and with that i would like to turn it over to mr. chair and recommend that we recognize supervisor wiener's aide and mr. ernst. >> thank you mr. chiu. at this moment if supervisor wiener's aide jeff crittenden would come up and speak to his amendments. >> thank you supervisor. i am jeff crittenden from
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supervisor's wiener's office. the amendments just described and combine elements of our legislation which we are supportive and appreciative he included as well as new amendments his office drafted and we have generally in supportive it. the supervisor does have one issue with the amendments that president chiu's office drafted. he disagrees with the language in the event that a legal text breaks 100 pages that pages one through 100 be included and the others excluded. we believe that if the board is going to make the policy decision to omit legal text it should omit the entirety of the legal text and to give equal measure to all pieces of the text. the supervisor feels this is misleading to include some parts of the text and not others and emphasizes that page one is more important one page 101 and from a matter of policy
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if the board makes a decision to omit text it should be consistent throughout the whole measure and not only pieces of the legal text for each measure that gets in, so the supervisor as a matter of policy can't support partial inclusion. he would prefer and his legislation does to have full exclusion of any legal text if it trips the 100 page mark. thank you. >> thank you. mr. ernst. >> good afternoon supervisors. i am director of elections. i'm not here to speak on either one of the proposed willings. i am here to answer questions. i want to thank supervisor chiu and supervisor wiener for bringing this forward because this would be a significant hit to the department's budget and have a negative impact on the election if the voters were to receive the full effect of the
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referendum in the mailboxes come november so again i am here to answer any questions and respond to any concerns that you have. thank you. >> i don't have any questions except to thank mr. ernst for his efforts and the supervisors for theirs so colleagues to focus the discussion -- >> can you hold on a second? >> sure. >> is the president of the elections commission jill roe like to make a comment? >> thank you chairman yee. i am jill roe president of the commission and one of the them in the goal is voter integrity and elections are fair and politics aren't playing into these types of issues and the commission met last week and unanimously
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approved that i present to you their position and overall the position is any fix that you make today as a result of these discussions today not be made permanent solution. that it is a one time fix that sunset following the november election. the three basic reasons that the commission feels this way, and they all relate to voter protection. the first is transparency to the voters. the second is impartiality of the department of elections and i think some of the amendments are addressing that and the third important point the commission wants to make is we need to discourage the manipulation of the elections process by political consultants. briefly i will go into each one of those and let me say the commission recognizes to have a fix and it's back breaking and we're not suggesting that you fix it for the one election but the reason it should be temporary. first
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trandz appearance. the current municipal elections code requires that the full text is include in the voter information pamphlet for a reason and the petitioners and the voters are looking at the same thing when deciding on a petition and amendment and shouldn't be limited and you should look at the same thing. we toment make sure that the beginning and the end of the process look the same. secondly we were very concerned about preserving the impartiality of the department of elections and the director of elections. i think one of the proposals included discretion in the director which parts to omit and i think the amendments are addressing that. we think that's a bad idea. we don't the
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director exposed to allegations he did that unfairly and end up with challenges on the basis of that. the last point and one that is particularly important here is that we need to discourage the manipulation of the petition process and it sounds like this is the issue that supervisor chiu was addressing additionally when you were debating the eight washington project. because of this issue when the supervisors are voting on supervisor expecting to be controversial and challenged by petition if you can -- if your campaign consultants can build into the process a burdensome mechanism on the petition it's harder to get that petition circulated in the first place. it's going to be it more expensive and the people paid to get the petitions out there to get it out. that's a big incentive to the
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consultants and tack on extra legal text into the ordinance you're including and have to be included in the petition so making this a permanent change you're inviting that type of mawpz to occur over and over again. if you make it a temporary change at a minimum you have to think of the same thing that supervisor chiu thought about when debating this and the voter information pamphlet, unless you take a separate vote and debate like you're having today, is going to have this problem, so for this reason we think making this a temporary fix will help to discourage that mawpz and we are urging you not to do something that is a permanent fix. >> i have a question. so you're just setting up general parameters of things you want us to consider when makes a disismghtz you as a commission don't have a recommendation
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between the two proposals. >> we don't have a recommendation of the two proposals -- >> [inaudible] >> those are the concerns. our elt mat recommendation that is sun sets and the reason we think it should sunset and transparency and lack of manipulation. >> you're the project sponsor. >> legislative sponsor. it's a big project. >> can you speak to that. >> absolutely. i wanted to talk about that and how to make it a temporary measure. it's my understanding we can't place a sunset clause on this provision but what i am happy to commit to and i don't want to put jeff on the spot, but i am prepared after the
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november election pass another ordinance to rescind this ordinance. we need to pass something out of committee today to save the 1.7 million dollars but if we can't think of the rule for the precise purposes for the president of the election commission i am happy to rescind that. i want to ask the city attorney if that is an option to consider. >> john gibner county city attorney. so you're suggesting not amending it today in committee but in the future based on the response in this election to the removal of some of the legal text in one of the measures potentially adopting a new rule rescinding this ordinance or adopting something new. >> what i heard from the commission and what we are trying to do is solve a once in a generation problem. the fact of the matter it's been a generation since a referendum
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qualified for a ballot and we haven't seen one this large. if you wouldn't mind just holding up that book again? colleagues this is a fraction of what will land in people's mailboxes and if we can avoid that and if the camera pan to him. maybe hand it to me so people understand. this is the size of the 500 pages that qualified for the ballot and it's pretty heavy and would cost our city close to $2 million to move this forward and both supervisor wiener and i believe we should amend the elections code to avoid this. if we can put a sunset clause we should do it but i understand from the city attorney it's not something they advise.
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>> the better option is adopt the law of applicability going forward and based on the experience and feedback of this election to reconsider the rule in the future you do that. >> and what the commission suggested i would suggest that we make the amendments and at the end of the year i will work with mr. ernst and the city attorney and supervisor wiener to introduce another ordinance to make sure this was temporary for this one situation. now i do want to address the one difference between supervisor wiener is and where i am, so what i have proposed is that for measures that have a legal text over 100 pages the handbook include a portion of the text and i proposed to include the initial 100 pages of the text. the idea is just because we don't include the entirety of the text we don't include any of it i disagree with that. i think we have the objective of
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saving the city considerable money but my concern is imagine if you have a ballot and a dozen measures and 11 of the dozen measures have the full text and the 12th one doesn't have anything there and if you want to see the full text of the ordinance go to the library or the internet and from my perspective because there are digital divide issues, in part because aren't going to go to the library and read this, i think out of a spirit of engaging voters so if they want to see a sample of the ballot they read a couple pages or 100 pages i think that is appropriate, and i also want to mention in the language that we placed what this will say is the following "the text contains the first 100 pages of this measure but doesn't include the remaining pages of the measure.
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the pages excluded could be useful to voters and the department of elections encourages voters to review that information and available at a certain website and every library. if you require a copy to be mailed to you please contact the department of elections and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you and what i propose colleagues with all of the other measures and you see a part of the text so there is at least the opportunity to get the sense of what you're talking about and know there are more possibilities. now out of a spirit to resolve this difference for you colleagues to make it easier to not make a choice here supervisor wiener suggested a 20 page limited and i suggested 100 page so why don't i suggest the following to allow the first 20 pages of an ordinance to be published and that gets at supervisor
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wiener's cost issues and not the full 100 pages so at least a voter can have a flavor of what the ordinance is about i suggest that as a way to get to the chase here and move this forward. >> before i go to supervisor breed supervisor wiener's -- mr. crittenden would you like to respond or anything? >> again i am -- i appreciate what supervisor chiu is saying i think from our office's perspective this is not just a one time issue, but more importantly as part of policy we don't believe that partial is consistent measure and it's misleading and not value one part of the text over another part because it's at the end and again the supervisor can't support that change. >> okay. thank you. supervisor
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breed. >> yes. i had a question about the implication that by only printing the first half or the first 20 pages and referring voters tol another place to find the additional information the implication that the information printed is more valid or more important or more substantive than the information not included and i just wanted to understand if there's a legal opinion about that implication. >> john gibner deputy city attorney again. this is really a policy question for the board to decide. the board has authority to determine how many -- whether to include the legal text at all and how much of the
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legal text to include, and so it's really up to your judgment whether you think voters would be mislead by including only a portion. >> okay. thank you. >> mr. chair, if i could just respond briefly to this? >> go ahead. >> i agree with supervisor wiener's aide that that in his words this is not necessarily a one time issue but i think the intent of the legislation is to address the one time situation that we have here and i fully intend if we pass this at the end of the year to pass legislation at the direction of the election's commission to rescind this because this is i think a longer standing policy conversation that we ought to have about what is the most appropriate way for us to educate voters, but i am really concerned that if voters receive a handbook that has the full text of everything but on one measure have no text
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whatsoever, not even 20 pages worth. i can understand why 100 pages is an issue but not even 20 pages. i think that will create more questions and providing the first 20 pages shows what we're talking about. let me also say when it comes to the ballot the 20 pages are the first five pages of the ordinance in question and page of supportive document so you're getting the gift of what the ordinance is about in the first five pages and a little more information and people could go to the library. they could go to the internet, et cetera, so i think we ought to explain and have that portion of the measure be in the ballot, and i also think that 20 pages was what supervisor wiener suggested is an appropriate cut off and i am happy to adopt that as part of the amendment of what we're talking about today.
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>> thank you. my comments are that i think that it is important that provide a pamphlet that is more consistent and i do think there would be a little bit of confusion from voters, especially as voters you're used to seeing the ballot measure, the explanations. it has a consistency now and provides the supporting documentation and i don't think we can completely submit something to say if you want more information about this this is where you need to go so i am happy to support moving this forward with the adjustment of the 20 page per measure maximum for this particular case, and definitely interested in seeing how this works in getting a reaction from voters and their
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feedback to know whether or not it's a system that we should continue or if we should re-evaluate it and change anything in terms of the election code so i am happy to move forward with that suggestion. >> so currently we have two proposals -- amendments here, and what i am understanding from supervisors wiener's office their proposal will not be changing, and from supervisor chiu that you have a proposal and you're willing to make amendments to that? >> that's correct. so i circulated to you the amendments i described which initially said print the first 100 pages but out of deference to supervisor wiener's suggestion of 20 pages and what supervisor breed just said and i am prepared if the
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committee wants to go down to 20 pages and consistency in the ballot i am comfortable with that as amendments to my version. >> so supervisor breed were you making amendments to supervisor chiu's proposal? because you made a general comment but i wasn't too sure. >> i wasn't making amendments but i would be open to considering the idea of consistency with the ballot and open to the possibility of this but wanted to hear from supervisor cohen. >> thank you. my comments are for staff. you are listening to the conversation and how we're going to deliberate these thoughtful proposals. do you have guidance and direction? i am looking to you because you're the expert. you publish these documents often, annually. is
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it physically possible to do something like this? i am not interested in having -- reading an idea partially articulated, but the other part of the idea is cut off because it goes beyond the 20 page threshold. is this a possibility or are you able to format it, size it down, play with the margins? i am looking for some of your thoughts. >> excuse me. when it comes to this referendum, this packet of information there is not much we can do with this information as far as squeezing it or expanding the margins and get more content on a page. most of the information that's incorporated with the referendum is documents from the planning commission, so it's information already issued by the agency. i don't see how
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we can tweak that and play around it so there is not much to do to reduce the current referendum to a smaller size. as far as the proposal focus we print nothing of course we can pull that off. >> >> if we print 20 pages we could pull that off and the legislation is clear we will put markers for the voters that says this is the first 20 pages and if you want to see more information please go to the library, go to the website. call us and we will send you it in the mail so as far as the different proposals here today the department can comply easily with those. the challenge is trying to squeeze the current bundle of information into a smaller package which i don't think is likely. >> so you i want to make sure i
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heard you correctly. you would include a statement if you would like more information and mailed to you please call this number and it will be sent to you. >> right. >> i am initially thinking about the seniors and the senior buildings that are all across the city, and a lot of them have told me they depend on these pamphlets. that's what they read. that's how they get their content and very few are technologically savvy or even have the wherewithal to point and click and get the information on the website. the cost to send that bundled information is that a cost the city will assume or is it passed onto the voter? >> no, the city would pick up the cost and the voter wouldn't pay for that directly. >> my question is is it going to be written -- the information where they can call and get it and i assume in multiple
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languages, bold, easily accessible for a reader? >> yeah whatever path we take with this the department wants the decision to be successful so we want to make sure the voters are well informed and aware, it's intiewive that the solution and it's easy to obtain. >> thank you very much. >> so supervisor chiu. >> if i could make one comment to piggyback on what supervisor cohen said. i am concerned because of the digital divide we have constituents with either language issues or because they're seniors and don't have access to the internet i think it's important to get a flavor of the ballot measure and if they want to contact the department of elections or go to the library or have a copy mailed to them they will
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receive it and the language proposed after the first 20 pages and the text contains the first 20 pages but not the remaining pages of the measure. those pages could have useful information important to voters and i think that addresses the concerns that the first 20 pages aren't represented and we know in november it's represented because it's the ordinance and lays out how a voter can receive the text of the measure. we tried to think of the issues and the cost incurred by the city and the department much elections and educate the voters and to make an informed decision. >> thank you. >> first of all i want to thank supervisor wiener and supervisor chiu -- or president chiu for taking on this issue in terms of the cost and what is practical for our voters, but at this
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point i would like to entertain -- now, i guess process wise can president chiu -- okay. so somebody on the committee would have to make the amendment. i will like to entertain an amendment to supervisor chiu's proposal. is there any? >> yes. but do you want me to repeat what the specific amendment is? will i need to? >> no. >> i can. >> before we do that should i be taking public comment? >> you should take comment community before any vote. if you like i can respond to supervisor breed's question. supervisor chiu's description of the amendment and what he circulated suffices to describe the amendment you're proposing. just to be clear for the record the exclusion of text would be triggered whenever the